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Nothing But Culture Talk

Is The Game a Top 10 Rapper? An Evidence Based Case

Byyoungnate

Dec 18, 2019

With the recent release of “Born2Rap”, Los Angeles rapper The Game pushed out his ninth successful major-label album since 2005. Since his early career, The Game has managed to maintain a respectable and active (i.e., he kept making music) presence throughout Hip-Hop for the better part of 2 decades. The list of peers who can share in that boast are few (Kanye; Jay-Z; Lil Wayne; Rick Ross…and maaaybe like one or 2 others). Now, I won’t argue that The Game’s peak matches that of a college obsessed Kanye West, or even comes close to Wayne’s or Drake’s respective strangle holds on the industry at given points in recent memory. This isn’t a ‘Who’s Number 1?’ argument. The criteria is, as always, subjective; however, with all fairly considered, I believe the list of All Time greats is (or at least should be) significantly smaller than most people seem to realize, and I would argue that The Game makes the cut.

So, moving forward, what makes a Top 10 member? For the sake of brevity and clarity, the criteria shouldn’t be overly convoluted. All standard GOATs (Jay Z, Nas, Eminem, Pac, B.I.G., ect) pass these standards. I politely direct those who object to the criteria to the comment section of the YTG Facebook page. Capitalized insults will really show me what’s good.

REPLAY VALUE

For The Game, the argument for high replay value is stronger for his singles than his albums as a whole, which is completely fine. For this topic, think “hit songs that will slap for many years to come”. The Game has quite a few more than you might think:

How We Do
Westside Story
Dreams (my personal favorite)
100
One Blood
Like Father Like Son
Dope Boys
The City
Ali Bomaye
Higher
Ol’ English
My Life
Hate It or Love It

Again, it’s not the GOAT list, but it’s very solid. It’s also important to note that The Game’s “lesser” songs are largely superior to his peers. Ask yourself how many songs that came out this year will have replay value in 2029, and you’ll begin to understand just how rare a timeless hit truly is.

BARS

Look, specifically for this genre, I have to refuse consideration for All Time status for artists that can’t spit. The Game can. 92 Bars is a perfect example, among several others. Now, I won’t argue that he’s one of the 10 best lyricists ever, but this is far from the only consideration. To limit Hip Hop to bars alone shortchanges it’s impact and importance, but a Top 10 candidate simply has to have this ability. The Game passes this test just fine.

LONGEVITY

See introduction paragraph.


REPRESENTATIVE OF THEIR CITY

Unique to Hip Hop, emcees are extensions and full-on representatives of their cities. Of all criterion, this one is where The Game arguably excels the most. He is synonymous with LA/West Coast. He carried the torch for West Coast Hip Hop during an otherwise concerning lull between Snoop/Tupac and Kendrick Lamar. K-Dot said it himself: “Game came through/put his city on his back”. This one really isn’t up for debate.

CREDIBILITY

Hate it or love it (get it? Damn I’m clever), Hip Hop demands street credibility. This maaaayy change in the future, but will never fully erode. A Top 10 candidate requires grit, and true grit can only come from exposure like The Game has had. His authenticity isn’t even a question.

INTANGIBLES

-Never really lost a beef
-Survived just fine even after a fallout with Dr. Dre and 50 Cent
-Outlasted all of G-Unit
-Obtained and maintains social media relevance


Now, a persuasive argument is nothing without acknowledgement of the opposing position. There are several arguments against The Game’s claim, but the strongest is probably sales. The Game simply doesn’t have the numbers to warrant. With that being said, I’d like to present a few names who exceed him:


Flo Rida
Nicky Minaj
The Beastie Boys
MC Hammer


PLEASE let somebody try to tell me Flo Rida and MC Hammer have more claim. Please do it.

Again, The Game doesn’t so much sprint into the Top 10 conversation as he confidently and calmly jogs into it. The Game represents a tried and true formula: if you simply make good music, you won’t be going anywhere until you decide to step aside yourself. In the title track of his newest album, The Game asks “Who do it better than me?” The answer, it would seem, is probably less than 10.

-Nate

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